A specialist agency launched in London this week aims to facilitate partnerships across the UK capital between industry and academic centres of excellence in the field of genetics and genomics-based research.

London Genetics, which will serve as a point of contact for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies looking to conduct genetics and genomics-based studies in the capital, is an equal partnership between Imperial College London, Kings College London, University College London, Queen Mary University, St George’s Medical School, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Institute of Cancer Research. Funding comes from the London Development Agency.

Professor Nick Lench, London Genetics’ chief executive officer, said the UK capital was a leading centre for research in clinical, molecular and medical genetics and genomics, with a “huge” number of researchers and practitioners in the field, as well as a first-class track record in gene discovery and the diagnosis and treatment of genetic disease. The new company offered its clients a gateway to these capabilities through its partner institutions, he explained.

Professor Lench was previously director of the Wales Gene Park and chief executive of the Cardiff Institute of Tissue Engineering and Repair. He has also been programme director for inflammation biology and discovery genetics at UK biotechnology company Oxagen. Chairing the board at London Genetics, which was launched at the annual Genesis biotechnology networking conference, is Professor Stephen Smith, principal of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London.